Co-Parenting Confessions: How Celebrity Exes Make It Work for the Kids Post-Breakup
These former couples have shared how they make co-parenting work, even if their relationship didn't
Kourtney Kardashian & Scott Disick
While the pair ended their nine-year relationship in 2015, they've remained amicable co-parents over the years — even joking about having a fourth child together in the recent Keeping Up with the Kardashians season 19 finale.
In celebration of their sons Reign and Mason's 6th and 11th birthdays, respectively, on Dec. 14, 2020, Disick expressed his appreciation for Kourtney on Instagram.
"Thank you @kourtneykardash for being the best baby maker in town, I couldn't have asked for a better person in the world to have these amazing children with," Disick wrote, sharing a photo of the pair with son Reign and daughter Penelope, 8.
"I love u and our family more than anything in the world 🌎," he added.
Scott Disick & Kourtney Kardashian
The former couple sat down to talk parenting in an April 2019 video for Kardashian's lifestyle brand, Poosh.
"I think the hardest part [of co-parenting] was when we both started new relationships," said Kardashian, who split with boyfriend Younes Bendjima in 2018, while Disick began seeing then-girlfriend Sofia Richie in 2017. " 'Cause that caused fights between you and I about introducing the kids … We had to literally go to therapy to talk … to even get through … to be able to communicate together."
Later in the video, the pair revealed that they've been able to share parenting duties without getting attorneys involved. "We just did it on our own, came up with our own schedule of what made the most sense with the kids," Kardashian said.
"I think we also knew that if we ever got into something like that, I don't think you and I would have the relationship that we have," Disick added. "That's huge. I don't know that other people have what we have — they're fighting with each other and they're not looking to compromise, they're not looking to make exceptions or work with each other and the only way they can go is the legal route … I think we are very, very, very lucky how we have everything."
Kylie Jenner & Travis Scott
"There’s a lot of love between Travis and Kylie, and they’re even openly affectionate," the insider said. "But they’re not back together and neither is in a place to be in a committed relationship."
The source said that Jenner and Scott, who share daughter Stormi Webster, have "both been dating here and there and are mature about that."
For now, the former couple are "really happy co-parenting Stormi and are on the same page about raising their daughter."
Cheryl & Liam Payne
The singers welcomed son Bear Grey in March 2017, and announced their breakup in June 2018 after more than two years together.
"Listen, she's a fantastic mom, I can't complain. She's absolutely awesome," Payne said of raising a son with his ex on an October 2019 episode of The Jonathan Ross Show. "She doesn't get onto me when I'm at work and doing different things — she understands. You know, we did the very same job so it's not that different for us."
Cheryl previously discussed their individual parenting styles with The Telegraph, telling the newspaper, "I'm the strict one; Liam isn't. I'll be the one saying, 'Just one square of chocolate,' but Bear is so good. If I get cross with him he puts his little hands on my face and looks into my eyes to see if I'm deadly serious or a tiny bit cross, and it melts my heart. [Liam is] much softer than me. But it is what it is, and I'm okay about it."
Kate Hudson, Matt Bellamy & Chris Robinson
Hudson is mom to daughter Rani Rose with boyfriend Danny Fujikawa, as well as son Bingham Hawn with ex-fiancé Matt Bellamy and son Ryder Russell with ex-husband Chris Robinson. The actress revealed how she makes her blended family work on a March 2019 episode of the Divorce Sucks! With Laura Wasser podcast.
"The one thing that I learned from my mom is that no matter what you're feeling and no matter what — when I see my friends talking s--- about their ex-spouses in front of their kids, I get so upset because they don't recognize how much that affects their child and how resentful their child will become of them," she said about following the example set by her famous mom, Goldie Hawn. "No matter what, I never heard a bad word about my father."
"Kids are not only incredibly intelligent, but eventually they can make their mind up themselves. They will see with their own eyes whatever needs to be seen and they need to come to that on their own terms. It's not our place to tell them how to feel about the other parents," Hudson added. "Your child wasn't in that relationship. Your child's in a different relationship with their father. You need to support that relationship."
Nick Cannon & Mariah Carey
During a visit to PEOPLE Now, Cannon talked about co-parenting twins Monroe and Moroccan after his 7-year marriage to Carey ended. "Luckily I've been blessed to share this experience with someone I really admire and have so much respect for. And I think the feeling is mutual," he shared. "At the end of the day, you've got to be a little selfless. You have to say 'It's not about us. This didn't work out quite how we wanted it to but look at the amazing blessing that we have in these wonderful children.' So you kinda put everything else to the side and really focus."
Rachel Bilson & Hayden Christensen
Bilson and Christensen dated for 10 years before splitting in September 2017, and the two share daughter Briar Rose. "We’re still kind of trying to figure it out," she told PEOPLE of their “work in progress” co-parenting dynamic with Briar. "It’s a tricky one. And I don’t know that there is any right way, necessarily."
"We say Mommy has a house and Daddy has a house but she’s pretty young to have an in-depth conversation," continued The O.C. alum. "Most important for me is that Briar is okay and secure and stable. No matter what I’m dealing with or how much it hurts or how much anger there is, it’s just about her."
Channing Tatum & Jenna Dewan
The couple, who split amicably in April 2018 following nine years of marriage, is handling their "new normal where there is a lot of love," Dewan told Harper’s Bazaar about co-parenting with Tatum. "We’re just getting used to it. We’re in a very positive energy together, trying to be the best parents to Everly. We support each other."
Paula Patton & Robin Thicke
Patton, who went through a bitter custody battle over her son Julian Fuego with ex-husband Robin Thicke, also opened up to Extra TV about the key to successful co-parenting with the singer. “To live in the now,” she said. “You have to forgive. That was then, this is now. You don’t have to hold on to anything. You are not doing your children any service. Bring as much peace and harmony to their life as you can.”
Anna Faris & Chris Pratt
The actors decided to part ways in 2017 after eight years of marriage. "We are great and there's so much friendship and love, and we surround Jack with love, and funny, kind, happy people, and as a result, he is really happy," Faris told Extra about sharing their son. "We constantly reinforce what a great kid he is," she added to E! News. "[We] try to discpline when he's being a little bit naughty. I think the key is surrounding him with a lot of joy and happiness, which he has a ton of."
Naomi Watts & Liev Schreiber
One year after his 11-year relationship with Naomi Watts came to an end, Schreiber told Sunday TODAY host Willie Geist in a 2018 interview keeping a friendship with Watts is a priority for the sake of their children.
“It’s important to support each other,” he said. “I was making some jokes at breakfast about Mommy with the boys and their eyes light up when I talk about her. You can see how important it is to them that their parents care about each other.”
Jennie Garth & Peter Facinelli
The actors have remained close since divorcing in 2013, even vacationing together with their significant others and daughters in Cancún, Mexico. Though they may have the whole co-parenting thing down, Facinelli told LaPalme magazine that it wasn't always easy for the actors to navigate their post-marital life as they do now. "Once a break up happens you need to go through the healing process first," the Supergirl star explained. "Love is blind and hindsight is 20/20."
“People come into your life for a reason and relationships can change and just because we aren’t living together, doesn’t mean you can’t love each other,” he continued. “I think once, there was a time where we had to learn that we had to be able to move forward with love and respect.”
Sienna Miller & Tom Sturridge
Despite calling it quits in 2015, the exes — who share a child together, daughter Marlowe, "still love each other."
"I think in a break-up somebody has to be a little bit cruel in order for it to be traditional, but it's not been acrimonious in a way where you would choose to not be around that person," Miller told Harper's Bazaar. "We don't live together, as has been reported recently, but we do half the time." As for raising Marlowe, Miller said: "It's great for our daughter that she has two parents who love each other and are friends."
The Live by Night actress also revealed in a different interview that she and her former partner do bedtime together with their daughter every night: "We felt like as much togetherness as possible would be ideal, and fortunately we really love each other and are best friends, and so that works."
Ryan Phillippe & Reese Witherspoon
The actors ended their relationship in 2006, after meeting shortly before filming 1999's Cruel Intentions together. Now, the two collaborate on raising kids Deacon and Ava. "You have to get to that point as a divorced parent, as any parent, where you're not putting yourself first," Phillippe, who is also dad to daughter Kai, told Entertainment Tonight in November 2016. "You want the kids' experience to be its own and not like, 'Well, I need to have my time!' We have been very good about that." The actor went on to share that his family alternates where they celebrate the holidays: "As a divorced dad, we trade off. Last year, my kids and I went to my parents' in Delaware, this year they will be with their mom and I am shooting a movie up in Toronto. I am going to fly down to Philly and just have a Thanksgiving with my parents and the kids get to be with Reese."
Will Kopelman & Drew Barrymore
The couple was officially granted a divorce in August 2016 after four years of marriage. "Sadly our family is separating legally, although we do not feel this takes away from us being a family," they announced in a statement to PEOPLE. "Our children are our universe, and we look forward to living the rest of our lives with them as the first priority." In October, the actress shared their secret to co-parenting daughters Olive and Frankie: "I think plans, constant plans," she revealed to Entertainment Tonight. "I woke up to an email from my children's grandmother this morning, Coco, saying 'I think for my birthday we're going to do it on the 14th. Can you make that date? Because it's not the same without you, I have to make sure that that date works for you.' I feel honored that my children's grandmother — her love and acceptance means the world to me. So you just be a family. Families are many different definitions in this day and age."
Ben Affleck & Jennifer Garner
The actors announced their plans to divorce in June 2015 after 10 years of marriage. In March 2016, Affleck opened up to CBS This Morning about co-parenting kids Violet, Seraphina and Samuel. "We're doing our very best and we're putting our kids first and that's how we're focusing on our day to day lives and we don't know what the future's going to hold, but each step that we take is one where we prioritize our children and everything else comes second," he said, adding that his ex is "somebody that I admire and respect and remain excellent friends with." On Today in August 2016, Garner discussed bringing her "modern family" on a European vacation. "Ben was working in London, on Justice League, and I felt like, 'Well, the kids should have that experience.' And he and I are great friends, and we just all went en masse," she shared.
Idina Menzel & Taye Diggs
The former spouses of 11 years are parents to son Walker Nathaniel. "Your child comes first, that's all," the actress told PEOPLE Now about raising Walker with Diggs. "It's all about that. He comes first and you have to get past your own egos and you never talk bad about each other." In 2015, Diggs explained to PEOPLE that caring for Walker is the "main objective" for both parents. "He's what's most important for us, so we're still there as a family. We were friends to start out with, but especially when you have a kid in the mix, there's no time for any negativity," he said.
Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin
The pair ended their 10-year marriage in 2014, but remain close as co-parents to Apple and Moses. "We're a family," Paltrow said during a 2016 Today interview. "Even though we're not in a romantic relationship, we're a true family and we like to do things to reinforce that we're a family for the children and for each other. He's like my brother. I'm very close to him." Back in 2015, Paltrow candidly admitted that co-parenting wasn't always easy. "It's definitely imperfect but it gets easier with time and you know, we're really good friends," she said at the #BlogHer15 conference. "[Martin is] a great dad and so, I feel lucky that we both, along the way, have been able to really put down our own stuff while we're together with the family and that we make it a priority to be together so that the transition for the children wasn't, you know, as brutal as it could be."
Ashlee Simpson & Pete Wentz
"We both realize that we're parents and we're in it for our kid, and that's made it really easy," the rocker said on Watch What Happens Live about raising son Bronx Mowgli with ex-wife Simpson. "As a mom, she's awesome. She's an awesome mom and we get along really well when it comes to our kid now."
Jewel & Ty Murray
"It's going good with me and [Kase]'s mom. She and I always think of Kase first. It's been great, it truly has. I feel really fortunate and lucky for that," Murray told PEOPLE in October 2014 after the ex couple announced their plans to end their six-year union. In May 2016, Jewel shared that raising their son together does come with some challenges. "It's work. I don't want people to think it's effortless — it's work to do this because you obviously don't get a divorce because things are going well," she told PEOPLE. "But it's letting those things live in the past … [It means] realizing you're in a relationship forever, so learning to treat one another with respect and dignity and just doing the right thing for Kase."
Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony
In 2014, the star talked raising twins Emme and Maximillian with her former husband of 10 years. "Marc and I are very good friends, we're very supportive," she said on HuffPost Live. "I feel it's my responsibility as a mom when their dad is not there to let them know that their dad loves them very much because that's the doubt that they have when he's not around or they haven't seen him. That's my job to do that the same way it's his job when he's with them to say 'Mommy is working and she loves you.'" Two years later, Lopez opened up to W magazine about the challenging aspects of co-parenting. "When my marriage ended, it was not easy to find forgiveness. It wasn't the dream that I had hoped for, and it would have been easier to fan the flames of resentment, disappointment, and anger. But Marc is the father of my children, and that's never going away. So, I have to work to make things right. And that is, by far, the hardest work I do," she confessed.
Wiz Khalifa & Amber Rose
The former couple, who were married for three years, share son Sebastian. Rose shared details of her co-parenting philosophy with PEOPLE. "I have pictures up of me and Wiz in his room so he can always come in and see us being happy together," she revealed. "We try to have family days with him, even though we're not together. Kids want to see their parents together and if you can't be together in a relationship, you've got to come together as friends for you baby.” She added, "I feel like we can be the best of friends but we just can't be in a marriage together. And that's ok, because as long as Bash is happy, and we're able to co-parent, that's the most important thing." According to Rose, she and Khalifa work together to split time with their son without the use of strict planning: "It's not a set schedule. I think the cool thing about me and Wiz is that if I have to do something he'll come grab the baby. We live very close to each other for Sebastian. So I can always call him, his name's Cameron, so I'm like 'Hey Cam, I gotta do something at 4 o'clock you wanna come and get the baby for a little bit and I'll come back and pick him up?' So we really co-parent well. It's not just the weekends, or every other week. He goes back and forth to mommy and daddy's house all the time."